LeRoy is not a dancer. He’s never danced, never wanted to dance, and dancing isn’t even a category he knows anything about. But we’re learning a new dance together. We’re a bit clumsy right now, but making feeble attempts at learning the new movements that this dance requires.
LeRoy has always been a strong and tender leader. He’s a man’s man. He’s not loud and boisterous, but he is dependable, consistent, diligent, and unflagging in his determination. Throughout our marriage, he’s rarely asked my help, not that he’s too prideful for that—he just does things himself. He makes his own coffee, pays our bills, often makes the bed in the morning and helps with the laundry. He pushes into adversity and doesn’t let pain sideline him. I’ve seen him put in a hard day’s work when he was sick as a dog . . . not giving into his weak body.
But this illness is unlike anything LeRoy has ever battled.
His heart and mind are willing to move forward, but sometimes his body isn’t cooperating. He doesn’t want to flinch and let the pain contort his body, but when it hits, he can’t stop it. He wants to pick up his life as normal, wants to jump on the tractor and mow the field in front of our church, wants to run as hard as he normally does . . . but the body won’t get in line with his wants. His body is saying it’s time to rest a bit.
I’m trying to learn this new dance.
He says the hardest thing for him in all of this weakness is that he fears being unable to protect me. It makes us both feel vulnerable. It’s a new experience. I’ve never felt afraid of anything when I’m with him, but now we both know he has physical limitations. Yesterday he told me, “At least I might be able to use my cane as a weapon if I need to . . .” That’s a real man for ya, he’s always thinking ahead, looking out for danger, and figuring out a plan in case we’re confronted with it.
It’s hard, because he wants to do more than his body will allow right now. I’m trying to learn the new dance of encouraging to push ahead, to support him in his determination to do as much as possible—independent of my help, but at the same time—to “protect” him from doing anything that is risky or might even endanger himself.
This is the greatest challenge in this new dance—functioning in a “protector” role, when normally, he is my protector.
His physical strength has always given me a steadying sense of security. His wisdom in leadership has made it easy for me to follow him. And I want him to continue to be my leader, but he acknowledges that he needs me to make decisions right now that he’s not sure about. He’s put me in charge of his meds—we’re experimenting and trying to find the right balance—taking enough of the right kind of meds to make his pain manageable without knocking him out. He’s depending on me for more things that normally he would take care of, but he’s pushing himself to do as much as possible on his own.
We are very much in a new dance . . . one where we are clinging closely to each other and following the leading of our Savior. It is the three of us joined tightly together in this dance.
He is leading us in this new dance, and we find our safety and security in Him. He is leading us along the paths He has planned for us. This Psalm has been a sweet reminder to us of His faithful leadership in this new dance:
[box]The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)[/box]
Please don’t think that we no longer need your prayers. We are in great need of prayer today.
Thank you for joining us in this journey into new territory and through the clumsiness of this dance.